Join me as I take a few jabs at the US’s venerable institution: American-style Football.
Every four years the world comes together for one of the most divisive debates the world has seen. It all boils down to this key question: which is better – American football or the rest of the world’s football? Countless barroom brawls and scores of hooligan confrontations in the stands have been the center of the most dramatic moments of these vicious debates. And just as a minor aside, we also have the World Cup competition to fill in the gaps between the fights.
As an American, I hear mostly the American side of these arguments. A sportscaster neatly summed up what I think is the typical US sport fan’s opinion of the world’s football: all that their sport would need to be great is a shot clock. Americans have to have everything at high speed. We cannot accept a sport where plays are set up even as the other team relinquishes control at the other end of the field. But that is the complexion of American sports in general.
I have thought about this attitude that American’s have and decided to make my own in-depth analysis of American football. That discussion follows here:
- Players – The offensive players, from time to time, actually execute some sort of play to move the football preferably toward the opponent’s goal. The defensive players try to impede that flow sometimes by feigning some sort of debilitating injury (in this respect the two football sports are somewhat similar).
- Officials – This group mans various positions on the field and regulates to some extent the mayhem that goes on during the occasional play. Their main function, however, is to have periodic consultations at mid-field in order to allow sufficient time for the TV commercials to complete.
- Key Sideline Individuals – Each team has a back-up quarterback; his job is to make silly hand and body gestures suggesting that he is signalling the play calls to his teammates. He is paid roughly $10 million per year for this highly strategic and sought after job. Beside him on the sideline is the coach; his job is to send a reserve player dressed entirely in green (so the TV cameras or the officials will not spot him) to run in and out with the actual play call. The reserve player is paid a per diem roughly equivalent to a burger and fries at the nearest fast food joint.
Game Time Breakdown for a Typical 3-Hour Football Game:
- 20 minutes – The amount of time each team stands in the huddle holding hands and whispering to each other.
- 20 minutes – The amount of time the TV cameras pan over to the cheerleaders on the sidelines.
- 10 minutes – The amount of time the TV announcers will discuss the players’ personal lives where they deal with day-to-day problems just like us – those issues range from an ex-girlfriend’s name on a tattoo to finding a good mechanic for the Ferrari.
- 10 minutes – The amount of time an actual play is executed.
- 1 hour 57 minutes – The amount of time for commercials (in this, American football is truly a diverse institution – every beer company in the Solar System gets a spot to sell its unique blend of flavor somewhere in every football game)
- 3 seconds – The final and most critical time of every American football game. A short, scrawny fellow who has been sipping piña coladas on the sidelines for the entire game, comes prancing out onto the field to perform the play we have all waited for: the game-winning field goal. He aligns himself with the goal post some 80 or so yards away. The play begins; he steps forward to kick the ball (it should be noted that other than the name, football, this is the only place where a foot and a ball will actually come into contact in the American version of the game). The ball sails through the uprights; the fans go berserk. The kicker’s teammates all come out, hug him and slap him around, then give him another piña colada (since successfully performing this game-winning play has dehydrated him). Finally, they carry him triumphantly off the field on their shoulders as if he had just found the cure for cancer.
- The Post Game Analysis – For the full hour following the game, roughly 25,000 TV Sports shows will analyze every nuance of the just finished game. In that hour, every play (that took a total of 10 minutes to execute) will be replayed at various angles on footage of cameras that range from helmet cams to the Hubble Space Telescope. Only then will we know what really happened on the playing field that day.
Hopefully, this analysis will help my fellow Americans to be better informed to make a more intelligent decision when comparing the two sports – football vs football. I would give you my opinion, but I am not much of a football fan in either case.
Bonus Link: Here is a link to one of my favorite football videos. Here you can get another hilarious perspective on the game of American Football!